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Iraq raises salaries for Basra oil workers
by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) June 23, 2011

Iraq's government said Thursday it was raising salaries at its southern oil terminals, following threats of a strike that would paralyse oil exports.

"The cabinet decided to grant a 30 percent increase in salaries of employees at the oil terminals in Basra and in Khor al-Aamaya" near the southernmost Faw peninsula, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.

He said the initiative was meant to demonstrate the government's keenness "to develop this sector and show its willingness to be fair to staff."

He said authorities wanted to "show their appreciation for the efforts of employees, and demonstrate they are aware of the hardships and difficult working conditions" related to the hot southern heat.

In late April, a large number of workers at the Southern Oil Company (SOC) staged a demonstration in Basra asking for more money."

In early May they had threatened to strike, and an oil ministry delegation sent to negotiate had promised to meet their demands.

Nearly 80 percent of Iraqi oil is exported through the southern ports.

In April, 49.7 million barrels were exported through the southern ports, at a value of $5.6 billion, according to oil ministry figures.

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